James Lees-Milne

The life, times, and seductions of James Lees-Milne (1908-1997), England's greatest 20th-century diarist.

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The Letters of Pliny the Younger

The correspondence of an Roman administrator reveals the mind of the ancient world's consummate "insider." Read more...

A Reader on Reading

A collection of essays on a reading life from the author of A History of Reading and The Library at Night

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On the Shoulders of Giants

Robert K. Merton's classic work of comic scholarship is a uniquely witty, digressive entertainment for the mind.

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The Stories of Heinrich von Kleist

Arresting and magical tales from a little known master of German literature. Read more...

2009: A Year in the (Reading) Life

Michael Dirda on the books of the year that "continue to linger most vividly in my memory."

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The Poems of Thomas Hardy

The novelist's other life, as a sensitive recorder of "tears in things." Read more...

Ecstasies

The fascinating folklore of the witches' sabbath in medieval Europe. Read more...

Hindoo Holiday

The idiosyncratic memoir of a visit to India, by the celebrated author of My Dog Tulip. Read more...

The Pillow Book

A thousand years on, a noblewoman's gleanings from Japanese courtly life still shimmer with beauty. Read more...

An Iranian Classic

Michael Dirda ventures into the phantasmagoric world of Sadegh Hedayat's The Blind Owl. Read more...

After the Barbarians: From Gibbon to Auden

How classical scholars have redefined and rediscovered the fascinations of "Late Antiquity." Read more...

Elective Affinities

Michael Dirda on Goethe's penetrating tale of four lovers at cross purposes. Read more...

Lud-in-the-Mist

Michael Dirda revisits a classic fantasy that unlocks the disturbing possibilities of fairyland. Read more...

Lives of the Artists

Giorgio Vasari's gossipy, glorious catalogue of personalities is one of the Renaissance's defining works.

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The Life of Henry Brulard

Michael Dirda on Stendhal's memoir of his childhood -- unpublishable in the author?s lifetime. Read more...

Winter's Tales

A host of haunting stories, made to savor by a December fireside.

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The Book of Ebenezer Le Page

Life on a small island in the English Channel is captured in this novel from a little-known author. Read more...

About the Columnist
Michael Dirda is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post Book World. He is the author of the memoir An Open Book and several collections of essays. His most recent book is Classics for Pleasure.

April 16: ""Blue pottery vases and bowls for flowers are most attractive, and certain blue books...will repeat and emphasize color."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.

Dispute Over a Very Italian Piglet

Amara Lakhous delivers a mystery novel with its finger on the hot-button issues of today's Europe.  Immigration and multicultural conflicts erupt in the Italian city of Turin, as journalist Enzo Laganà looks to restore peace to his native burg.

Papers in the Wind

In this insightful novel by Eduardo Sacheri, a young girl left destitute by the death of her soccer-playing father is uplifted by the bold schemes of her uncle, his pals, and one newbie player to the professional leagues.